Healthy Substitutions

Sneak Cancer Protection into Your Meals

Slash Fat, Not Flavor

A little healthy fat in your diet is important to have. Some vitamins, like beta-carotene, need to be eaten with a bit of fat for the body to absorb them. And a little healthy fat helps you to feel full.

Instead of:
Butter, corn oil or stick margarine Olive, canola or a nut oil
1 cup cream 1 cup evaporated skim milk
Cream to thicken soups Potato or vegetable purée
Oil as base for marinade Citrus juice; flavored vinegar
Stick margarine or butter for sauté Small amount of olive or canola oil; vegetable or chicken broth (as needed); soft (tub) trans-free margarine
2 oz. grated mild cheddar cheese 1 oz. grated reduced-fat sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese or hard cheese like Parmesan
Avocado Mashed green peas for half of avocado
High-fat sauces and dressings
  • Vegetable purées (such as roasted red pepper or sautéed onion and garlic puréed in food processor or blender)
  • Fruit or tomato salsa
  • Mustard
  • Horseradish
  • Tomato or citrus juice (lime, lemon or orange)
  • Low fat salad dressings
  • Plain low fat yogurt instead of cream

Change the Ingredients

In a meal or a recipe, ingredients you use out of habit might be changed to healthier ones.

For example, when you’re trying to limit how much red meat you eat each week to 18 ounces or less for lower cancer risk, you can replace it with beans or soy foods. You will be getting protein and iron, as you would from red meat, plus cancer-fighting phytochemicals, fiber and vitamins like folate. Other examples are:

Instead of:
Wine Broth; apple juice
White rice A whole grain like brown rice; bulgur; kasha; quinoa; whole wheat couscous
Bread crumbs Toasted wheat germ; whole-wheat bread crumbs
Meat/poultry for stir-fry Salmon or other fish; Cubes of extra firm tofu
Ground beef Less meat plus finely chopped vegetables; Crumbled soy products like tofu, tempeh or textured vegetable protein (soy crumbles); Beans

Bake for Better Health

You might be surprised to know that baked goods will still come out well when you try these substitutions in the recipe and on the finished treats:

Instead of:
1/2 cup butter/margarine 1/4 cup applesauce (or prune purée) + 1/4 cup butter/margarine/oil
1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
Sweetened condensed milk Lowfat/nonfat sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk 1 can evaporated skim milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely milled whole-wheat flour, or
  • 1 cup “white” whole-wheat flour, or
  • 7/8 cup all-purpose flour + 2 Tbsp. soy flour
Pastry pie crust Phyllo crust; graham cracker crust
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (for cakes and cookies)
1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries (for quick bread and muffins)
  • Chopped nuts
Fudge sauce Chocolate syrup
  • Sliced fresh fruit
  • Puréed fruit
  • Light dusting of powdered sugar
Regular jam and jelly All-fruit or low-sugar jam and jelly; Low-sugar fruit “butters”
Butter Nonfat cream cheese
Whipped cream Very cold evaporated skim milk whipped in chilled bowl with dash of powdered sugar


Apples in a basket and a bowl of applesauce